Tonight was our Modranacht rite and it was beautiful. Every time we step into sacred space, every time we enter ritual we renew our commitment to restore the sacred covenants between us and the Holy Powers. Modranacht honors our Mother Goddesses, like Frigga, Sigyn, Sif, Freya, Hela (Mother of all the dead), Loki (Mother of Sleipnir), and many, many more. We also honor the Matronae, and our female ancestors and Disir. I wish the rite tonight had gone on forever. It was just beautiful.
Here is a picture of our altar to the night (it’s not complete — I took this as we were setting up. Our sacred images of Hela and Sif still need to be added. We did that shortly after I took this shot).
Here is a close up of one of my Frigga statues. It just arrived today (a good omen, I think, that it arrived on Mother-night). It’s not usually how I see Her, but represents Frigga as magician, as a shaman, in the process of shapeshifting.
For those of you who keep this holy night, I would love to hear how your rites and rituals went. Feel free t post in the comments.
Friday we celebrated our last Sunwait of the year. We had such a lovely ritual. It’s hard to describe something that is at once so simple and yet so profound. The rituals we have done as we move toward Yule have nourished us so deeply, and I truly think they have helped us prepare for these ember days so much more fully than we have in years previous. There was something very special about concluding this cycle with kenaz. It is the hearth fire, the light in the darkness, the torch that leads the way and it came powerfully. Here is the prayer that we offered, written just like last week by both myself and my housemate (and assistant) Tatyana:
To Sunna and Kenaz Hail to You, Oh Sunna, Who always lights our way, keeping the hearthfire glowing and warm in the cold expanse of winter. Hail to Sunna, Who teaches us to cultivate the arts of the home and of civilization, in the icy depths of the cold; for You come bearing kenaz, this rune who brings with himself the power of creation, the fire of the hammer hitting the anvil, of art, of sorcery, and of manifestation. You, gracious Goddess, protect our homes, tending the fire of our spirits, warming the halls of our hearts, in the months when the land slumbers. You inspire our creativity, our playfulness, granting us the gift of inventive craft, and of wonder. You, Sunna, are the spark of optimism carrying us through every dark time again and again. You grant us the courage to persevere, for Your light will always come. You shine the brightest, when your glorious gleaming light glitters on the snow and ice, reminding us always that You are there; and Your embrace is one of joy that our souls may drink in deeply, daily, in the darkness of winter. You bear kenaz forth, a brilliant torch, leading us laughing into the ember time of Yule, where we taste the fullness of Your blessings. Hail to You, Goddess of the Sun, may Your journey lengthen as You return to us again, the fullness of Your glory. Hail, mighty Goddess.
Tonight, we celebrated Modranacht, calling our Mighty Mother Goddesses: Frigga, Freya, Sigyn, Nerthus, Sif, Ran, Loki (not a Goddess but He did transform into female form to birth Sleipnir), Gerda (Who in our tradition chose not to have children but comforts every grieving mother), Idunna (we don’t know if She has children or not), Sunna, Angurboda, Hela (all the dead are Her children), moist Mother Earth, Frigga’s retinue (again, we don’t know from the sacred stories if any of Them have children)—I feel like I’m missing a Deity but we made sure to offer to all of our mighty Mother Goddesses named and unnamed. Then we honored our Disir, and then as many of our female ancestors as we could name. We ended by remembering the Nornir, hailing Audumla, and offering a powerful prayer to Embla. My husband suggested it before we closed the rite and when I spoke Embla’s name, it hit such a powerful groove spiritually, ancestrally that it nearly knocked me over. I don’t remember what I said during ritual – the prayer was offered extempore – but this is a reconstruction of what I do remember:
Prayer to Embla for Modranacht I raise this horn to Embla, Mother of all mothers, Mother of us all. I hail Embla, the first of all women, who drank in the breath of a God, who received sense and warmth and life from the Holy Ones Themselves, who knew Their touch in blessing, who was given a soul. Embla, born of elm, Who ties us to the worlds, Who roots us deep In the time of the beginning, We pray that you, Eldest Mother, Restore our souls and spirits, That we too may look at the world With eyes that have seen the Gods And know that which comes from Their hands To be good and wise and true. Hail to you, Embla. May we always remember you.
For those of you celebrating Yule tomorrow, may your celebrations be showered with blessings and may you find favor in the eyes of your Gods and your honored dead. Alu.